That bed. I slept amazing. Whatever combination of pillows, blankets, and tired contributed to the equation, it was snooz-a-licious.
I heard someone moving around in the other room and emerged to find Jim, and he graciously made me a cup of coffee that I took to my room to sort through my last resupply box. The last one! It was already the end of October and there were four days of hiking left. It didn’t feel like the end of October…the sun forgot what it did with the snow and the single degree temps a few days ago, and t-ed up a week of 50-60 degree temps and blue sky. I’ll happily take it, but did grieve a little for the thirsty ground and the folks still fleeing wildfires in California. We really do need some rain, and a lot of it (but not all at once! Lets pass on post-wildfire flooding please and thank you 🙏).
Once the food was sorted and the gear back in my pack, I went out to enjoy the morning with Jim and Rhonda. I’ve had such interesting conversations on this hike…part of it may be that I have almost no barriers left between me and the world. I’m feeling very raw, and you are gonna get my true self right now…I don’t have much time or patience for dilly dallying around conversations or topics that aren’t authentic, important, and true. I know it’s also because the people I’ve been spending time with out here are of the sort made of integrity, passion, and respect for the planet and each other. It surely has been feeding me in a more significant way than the omelette and chorizo I had for breakfast. But wow, what a great breakfast.
Rhonda made me a whole loaf of sourdough bread and threw in most of a stick of butter. On top of that was a full ziplock of brownies. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be living my best life on this last stretch.
We headed back to Sumpter where they had picked me up yesterday (masks on!), and I was walking north by noon. Jim and Rhonda, I can’t wait to do it again!
I had a big stretch of gravel road on deck, and I walked past Cracker Creek which had been turned inside out in the search for gold. In fact, that’s what all of this dredging looked like, the guts of the rivers were spilled out in big piles of river rock, all in the search for the bling.
I had a cross country section for the final stretch of the day, but it was one of the more pleasant cross country hikes I’ve had on this trip. The forest canopy was open, and the downed trees I had the step over were mostly shin high or less and there was always a way through. Lovely! At times I found myself on a trail, I hadn’t remembered anyone saying there was a trail back here, but sure enough there were cut ends of logs, and even red blazes painted on a few trees.
To avoid a mining claim I headed over for a steep climb up to the flanks of Crown Point to find the north slope was still holding onto some icy snow, which made the push a little dicey. Up top I surveyed the path ahead and opted for a different ascent due to more north facing slopes in the mapped route. As I was climbing up the spine of Crown Point, it appeared fairly wide with large shelters of granite boulders. I had to do a bit of scrambling on the boulders, but because it wasn’t exposed, I had fun with it. I decided the best way through was to summit Crown Point and head down the other side to intersect my route again. Up, up, up and away!
At about 7,800′ I found a sheltered spot to set up camp. It wasn’t even supposed to freeze tonight and I was facing the Elkhorns where I had just been, but all the snow was gone. That was fast!
Dinner was sourdough bread and sharp cheddar cheese. At this rate I won’t be eating any of my resupply, just baked goods. I can dig it.